A parent who gets why others choose not to have kids

Last updated 09:00 22/01/2015

CHOICES: Wendy Giddens is glad she had children but understands why others choose not to.

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Choosing not to have children

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I have five children but I understand people's reasons for choosing not to have children.

Everyone has a right to decide whether or not they want to be parents. Whatever their reasons everyone else should shut up, and accept that some people may choose to live their lives without offspring.

My mother always said if she had her time over again she would not have kids. I was a bit shocked and defensive then - I was one of her offspring after all. However, I understand now.

People waffle on about children "fulfilling them" and how they "never would now be without the children they have". That's fine, but we gloss over the results and rewards and trials and heartache parents often experience.

Parenting can be a rollercoaster ride. There are precious beautiful moments but some of child-rearing is a hard slog, stressful, heartbreaking even.

It isn't just the years from conception to adulthood. You are a parent for the lifetime of that child, and even as adults your children can drive you crazy, cause a lot of pain and anguish.

There are rewards, especially being a grandparent to gorgeous little people you can love and release back to their parents. I am glad I have had children, but understand those who choose not to be parents, no matter their reasons.

One little niggling doubt remains though: When childfree adults reach their older years, will there be a sad regret that no-one carries on after them? That is one thing we should discuss and think about.

Being an auntie is probably much less stressful but the experience of being a parent can be priceless, and wow, what a learning curve it is from the cradle to the grave.

Have you decided not to have children? If so, why? Do you feel pressured or treated differently because of your decision?

Maybe you always expected to have children but circumstances didn't work out?  

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